Admitted to gynecology due to excess bleeding and low hemoglobin after elective surgery, an older woman developed severe pain, nausea, and new-onset atrial fibrillation. She was moved to the telemetry unit where cardiologists treated her, and she had episodes of bloody vomit. Intensivists consulted, but the patient arrested while being transferred to the ICU and died despite maximal efforts.
Because the plan to biopsy a large gastric mass concerning for malignancy was not conveyed to the hospitalist caring for the patient, she was not made NPO, nor was her anticoagulant medication stopped. The nurse anesthetist performing the preanesthesia checklist noted she received her anticoagulation that morning but did not notify the gastroenterologist. The patient had postprocedural bleeding.
A 2-month-old boy brought in for a well-child visit was ordered the appropriate vaccinations, which included a combination vaccine for DTaP, Hib, and IPV. After administering the shots to the patient, the nurse realized she had given the DTaP vaccination alone, instead of the combination vaccine. Thus, the infant had to receive two additional injections.
Dr. Bilimoria is the Director of the Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center of Northwestern University. He is the principal investigator of the Flexibility in Duty Hour Requirements for Surgical Trainees (FIRST) trial and a Faculty Scholar at the American College of Surgeons. We spoke with him about the FIRST trial, which examined how less restrictive duty hours affected patient outcomes and resident satisfaction. Its results informed recent changes to duty hour policies.
This piece reviews how changes to the ACGME requirements emphasize patient safety and quality improvement, address physician well-being, strengthen expectations around team-based care, and create flexibility for work hours within the maximum 80-hour workweek.